UnitedHealthcare Health insurance that includes all Western PA hospitals
Saturday May 15 2021
Leave this field empty.

31 Thoughts on the 2011 NFL Draft

PSR Logo
1. The Steelers need to take a corner with the 31st selection, but Colorado’s Jimmy Smith will likely be gone by 31. That leaves Texas’ Aaron Williams and Miami’s Brandon Harris as possible selections.

2. Of course, Pittsburgh may not have its pick between the two and instead be left with whichever corner the Ravens don’t pick at 26. Baltimore’s greatest need is cornerback, meaning the Steelers will have the leapfrog their division rival in a trade if they covet one of the two (or three if Smith drops) first-round corners.

3. A choice between Harris and Williams would be a tough one indeed. In the end, Harris might be the better selections, despite the fact that he’s two inches shorter than Williams. Harris’ physicality would fit right in with Pittsburgh’s overall defensive mentality.

4. Dark horse: Virginia’s Ras-I Dowling, who could sneak up into consideration from the second round. He has great size for the position at 6’2” and boasts a strong work ethic, two attributes Pittsburgh should value highly.

5. Then again, the Steelers are always unpredictable with their draft. Pittsburgh could have its pick of corners and end up picking a defensive lineman.

6. If that were to happen, the selection would almost certainly be Ohio State end Cameron Heyward, the son of NFL great “Ironhead” Heyward. The younger version has the perfect build for a 3-4 defensive end and, if he were to pan out, would pair with Ziggy Hood to cement the position for years to come.

7. Speaking of defensive linemen, expect Pittsburgh to address that unit with at least two of their picks after essentially passing on it a year ago. Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel aren’t getting any younger and Smith, in particular, has been rather injury-prone of late.

8. It might not be the year to draft interior linemen, though. Hampton and Hoke should be able to hold the fort for one more season because both have managed to stay relatively healthy. The exception could be made for USC’s Jurrell Casey who may be a little undersized for a nose tackle but possesses a motor that could make him a valuable piece in the rotation at both end and tackle.

9. On the offensive side of the trenches, Pittsburgh needs to go big or go home. By that, I mean draft a lineman in the first three rounds or not at all. This team already has an abundance of backup-quality linemen (most of whom can play multiple positions) and would be better server looking to add a starting-caliber player.

10. The return of Flozell Adams, Max Starks, and (maybe) Willie Colon should lead the team to go for a guard, a position which was a revolving door at times, and not for injury reasons.

11. To that end, Pittsburgh needs to bring in a mauler at the position. The escapability of Big Ben means that the team can focus on linemen who are better run-blockers than pass-blockers. I like LeHigh’s Will Rackley, who has solid strength and a great work ethic and could be had late in the third round.

12. Mike Pouncey is a pipe-dream, as much as I would love to see him in black and gold. It would take a stunning slide for Pittsburgh to even be in a position to trade up for him.

13. Reuniting the Pounceys might not be a sure-fire home run anyways. Sure, they might just become the wonder twins who pair up and instantly make each other better. But what if they’re not? What if Mike isn’t what his twin brother is? How do you deal with Maurkice if Mike doesn’t crack the starting lineup or– gulp- is cut by the team? Might be more trouble than it’s worth.

14. If that scenario sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same storyline for the two twin guards in The Replacements. One was traded, both fell apart.

15. In terms of tackles, Colorado’s Nate Solder could be the target if the team goes offensive line with its first pick, if only for the fact that, at 6’9”, he’ll fit right in with fellow giants Max Starks (6’8”) and Flozell Adams (6’7”).

16. Another tackle that’s been linked with the team, possibly with their second round pick, is Miami’s Orlando Franklin. He has a wealth of physical talent and could blossom into a solid starter with some coaching. However, he has some attitude issues which may end up scaring Pittsburgh away.

17. Two positions that Pittsburgh absolutely won’t touch in the first half of the draft: quarterback and tight end.

18. Two positions that Pittsburgh probably shouldn’t touch in the first half of the draft: running back and outside linebacker, and I would list running back three times.

19. With each passing draft, I become more and more against drafting a running back on the first or second day. I’m still not a fan of the Rashard Mendenhall selection, even though it was a great value pick. The fact is that running back is one of the easiest positions to find in the later rounds and free agency.

20. Plus, Mendenhall’s presence means running back isn’t much of a need. I really don’t expect the Steelers to go on a Titans-like running backs binge (three running backs in the first two rounds from 2006-08).

21. Even with the success of Mike Wallace, the continued excellence of Hines Ward, and the emergence of Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, don’t be surprised to see the team grab a receiver in the middle rounds.

22. Boise State’s Austin Pettis could be that receiver if the Steelers are inclined to make the pick. The 6’3” wideout visited with the team prior to the draft so some interest is there. Pettis could be the tall receiver Big Ben thought he was getting when the team selected Limas Sweed.

23. Expect the team to make at least one selection that is almost entirely geared towards special teams. Kicker, punter, and return-man are all fair game in that department.

24. As always, Pittsburgh is willing to trade up or down with its first-round pick. In the past, the team had traded up to select Santonio Holmes and Troy Polamalu and traded down to grab Casey Hampton.

25. For the team to trade up, it would likely be to grab a corner they covet or to pounce on a sliding Pouncey.

26. Likewise, the team could trade down if they feel there’s poor value at cornerback and in the trenches when they go to make their selection. If Pittsburgh trades out of the first round, it will be the first time since the AFL-NFL merger that the team did not select a player in the first round.

27. Remember: in both instances, trades are limited to picks for picks. Because of the lockout and resulting roster freeze, no players can be included in trades.

28. Always remember the two-year rule if you’re baffled by a Steelers selection: this is a team that tends to draft for two years from now, rather than drafting for 2011.

29. It’s doubtful this year’s class will have the same type of immediate impact last year’s class did. First, because last year’s class is the exception to the rule and, second, because the lockout could steal valuable practice team from the team’s draftees.

30. On the local scene, defensive end Jabaal Sheard will most likely be the first Pittsburgh commodity off the board. Wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin seems to be a popular choice of fans to land with the Steelers, but I’d highly doubt the team would draft him. Baldwin will be long gone before Pittsburgh would even start thinking about picking up a wideout.

31. Enjoy the draft. It may be the last bit of the NFL we’ll get for awhile.

Share
PSR VIDEO
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Penguins TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Penguins TV Channel
See video
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3Penguins TV Channel
Josh Bell had not hit a walk-off home run since he was a member of the Altoona Curve in 2015. He changed that Friday with a soaring shot for the left field loonies.
Custom 1North Shore Notes
Francisco Cervelli is as passionate about the current state of Venezuela as anybody you'll find. Last month, the Pirates' catcher spoke passionately about the movement, his country's state of affairs and the future of Venezuela.
Custom 2North Shore NotesPress Room
Gustav Nyquist and Jimmy Howard led the way for the Red Wings, who landed Pittsburgh its fourth straight regulation loss.
Blue LineCustom 3Press Room
Monday night was more than a game. For Jameson Taillon, it was another heave in an ongoing push to liberation from a disease that can break down the toughest of men.
Custom 4North Shore NotesPress Room